LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just four days earlier, Xander Schauffele got boat-raced by Rory McIlroy in the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

Schauffele took a one-shot lead over McIlroy into the final round and lost by five shots.

On Thursday, though, Schauffele, who hasn’t won a tournament since 2022, showed no signs of any Wells Fargo hangover.

He scorched Valhalla in his opening round of the PGA Championship with a 9-under-par 62 to take a three-shot lead among the players in the morning tee times.

Both Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala, with a 65 in the morning, are three shots behind Schauffele at 6-under par. 

Rory McIlroy, who won his last major championship 10 years ago at Valhalla, is 5-under par after shooting 66 and is tied with Robert McIntyre at four shots behind Schauffele.

Defending PGA champion Brooks Koepka, a three-time winner of this major, put himself in great position with a 4-under-par 67.

No one, however, could touch Schauffele on this day.

“It’s a great start to a big tournament, one I’m obviously always going to take,’’ Schauffele said. “(But) it’s just Thursday. That’s about it.’’

The 62 tied the lowest score ever shot in a major championship. Schauffele, along with Rickie Fowler, were the last to do it.

Both shot 8-under 62 to begin the U.S. Open last year at Los Angeles Country Club.

Asked after this round which was better, Schauffele said, “I don’t know. I can’t nit-pick. I’ll take a 62 in any major any day.’’

Justin Thomas, the hometown hero, was grouped with Schauffele along with Ludvig Aberg. Thomas shot 2-under-par 69 and Aberg was 1-over.

Afterward, Thomas called Schauffele’s round “one of the easiest 9-unders you’ve ever seen,’’ adding, “It makes you feel like you’re shooting a million.’’

Asked about his demeanor coming into this week after losing to McIlroy Sunday, Schauffele said, “I think not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is. For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more, and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder.

“The top feels far away, and I feel like I have a lot of work to do. But just slowly chipping away at it.’’

Thomas was adamant about Schauffele not beating himself up after Sunday.

“It sucks not winning, but he didn’t lose,’’ Thomas said. “He got beat. You can hang your head and really take into next week when you lose a golf tournament. But I think when you’re right there and playing well and you just get beat, it is more motivation, I’d say, and just kind of stick with what he’s doing.

“Xander is such a complete player,’’ Thomas went on. “This year he’s hitting it even further. As good as he drove it, now he’s doing the same, just 15 yards further and faster. 

“He’s smart. I’ve always thought he has one of the best demeanors out here, which is obviously something that you can’t necessarily just change overnight. He just has no quit in him, and he’s always hanging in there and staying patient. He’s playing really, really great golf right now. So you feel like he’s one of those guys every time he tees it up right now, he’s going to be in contention.’’

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